Landmine blasts kill five in Pakistan’s tribal areas

A Pakistani police commando gestures as he stands guard at the site of the March 27 suicide bombing, in Lahore on March 28, 2016. (AFP)
Updated 21 August 2019

Landmine blasts kill five in Pakistan’s tribal areas

  • Arrests have yet to made in the case as the search continues
  • All the victims were from the North and South Waziristan districts

PESHAWAR: Five persons, including two children, were killed while eight others were injured in two separate explosions in the volatile North and adjacent South Waziristan tribal districts late on Tuesday, officials told Arab News.
Jahanzeb Wazir, Deputy Superintendent of Police in Razmak, a town on the outskirts of Miran Shah – the headquarters of North Waziristan tribal district – told Arab News that a land mine blast in the area has injured two security personnel late on Tuesday evening.
“Two security men, including Hawaldar Hidayatullah and Muhammad Zahid, suffered multiple injuries in the blast. The victims were instantly evacuated to a nearby hospital for treatment,” Wazir added.
Soon after the blast in the Dangin area of Razmak, security forces rushed to the site before cordoning off the entire area in order to nab the perpetrators. However, arrests have yet to made in the case as the search continues.
In a similar incident on late Tuesday, five people were killed and six others injured in Birmal, a rugged town near the Afghan border, Dil Nawaz Wazir, additional deputy commissioner of the South Waziristan district, said.
The victims, he added, were on their way to the jungle when their vehicle was hit by a land mine in the Gangikhel area located close to the Afghan border. Meanwhile, the injured were moved to Dera Ismail Khan, an adjacent district, for treatment.
In recent months, a series of land mine blasts have claimed the lives of several civilians and security personnel in both the tribal areas.
On August 7, Abdullah Khan, a tribesman from Dattakhel tehsil of the North Waziristan tribal district suffered serious injuries when he stepped on a land mine while grazing his cattle, resulting in the loss of a leg.
Similarly, on June 25, a child lost her life while three others were injured in Patikhel, a village close to Miran Shah.
Earlier on June 14, a security officer who was returning home from duty in the Sra Rogha area was also killed when he stepped on a land mine.

Alice Wells discusses Afghan peace process with Islamabad

Updated 21 January 2020

Alice Wells discusses Afghan peace process with Islamabad

  • Islamabad reaffirms commitment to the Afghan peace process, says FO
  • Wells is in Islamabad since Sunday on a four-day visit

ISLAMABAD: The chief US diplomat for South Asian affairs, Alice G. Wells, on Tuesday discussed the ongoing Afghan reconciliation process with Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood in Islamabad, ahead of an expected US-Taliban peace agreement.

The principal deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asian affairs at the US State Department has been in Pakistan since Sunday on a four-day visit to discuss a host of issues of bilateral interest, including the Afghan peace process.

US-Taliban talks have been ongoing in the Qatari capital, Doha, where they are moving toward a peace deal. 

Pakistan has been involved in bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table with the US to restore peace in the region.

“The two sides (Pakistan and the US) ... discussed recent developments regarding the Afghan peace and reconciliation process,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement after the hours-long meeting between Wells and Mahmood.

During the meeting, the statement said Pakistan, has “reaffirmed its resolve to continue to support the peace process and pursue positive development of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations.”

This is the second time in recent months the US and Taliban have appeared close to announcing a peace deal. 

In September, President Donald Trump abruptly called off the talks in response to a suicide bombing in Kabul that killed an American soldier.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Monday in a Twitter post that a three-member team representing the Taliban – Mullah Baradar Akhund, Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanekzai and Amir Khan Muttaqqi – met with US special envoy for Afghan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. Scott Miller, the US and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

Experts have termed the recent negotiations between the US and Taliban decisive and are expecting them to reach an agreement by the end of this month.

“Taliban have already agreed on a violence reduction in Afghanistan that was one of the key demands of the US. So, it means both sides are close to a significant peace pact,” Rahimullah Yousafzai, an expert on Afghanistan and Taliban affairs, told Arab News.

He said that Pakistan has played a crucial role in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table by using its influence over the militants. “Alice Wells may discuss the pros and cons of the proposed peace agreement with Pakistan’s top civilian and military leadership during her meetings,” he said.